Sunday 20 May 2018

Taoiseach forced into embarrassing u-turn over Sinn Fein coalition comments

Enda Kenny. Photo: Damien Eagers
Enda Kenny. Photo: Damien Eagers
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been forced to release a statement insisting he would not go into government with Sinn Fein after receiving a raft of backlash from party members.

During a media briefing on Thursday, Mr Kenny refused to rule out the possibility of Fine Gael entering into government with Sinn Fein despite being asked on several occasions.

“I said I wouldn't do business with Fianna Fáil so, depending on the result you gave as a member of electorate, politicians have to work with the result," the Taoiseach said.

Fine Gael Cabinet ministers moved quickly to distance themselves from their leader’s comments and insisted they would never enter coalition with Sinn Fein.

Fine Gael leadership frontrunners Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar and Housing Minister Simon Coveney both ruled out going into Government with Gerry Adams party.

The Taoiseach has now been forced into an embarrassing u-turn.

In a statement today, Mr Kenny said: “The Fine Gael Party position is, has been and will remain, not to enter into coalition government with Sinn Fèin.”

“As I have stated many times previously I don't believe the parties to be in anyway compatible, in particular on economic issues where Sinn Fein policy would lead to massive job losses and seriously undermine business and investment.

“My focus and that of the government I lead is to manage the nation's affairs in the interests of its citizens.

“We have immediate challenges that must be dealt with, including Brexit and we will meet those challenges head on as we have done successfully many times before," he added.

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